Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Mer-Da

  • Long Burn the Fire [Janus, 1972] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Long Burn the Fire [Janus, 1972]
A follow-up to There's a Riot Goin' On by a group identified as "Black Mer-Da" on the disc itself, before someone at Janus got cold feet. No more riots here than with Sly, or course--just self-hate, misogyny, desperate poverty, and senseless violence, as out-of-tune voices declaim strangely catchy tunes over loitering funk patterns and jagged guitar. "Sometimes I wish I'd never been born," they announce flatly, and they can really get flat. But the most surreal passage comes toward the close of "My Mistake," when "I should have killed her instead" (author's note: of the friend he caught fucking her), horrifying enough as a surprise endline, is transformed into a little piece of art-funk, repeated amid various instrumental configurations by an off-key chorale that sounds positively transported. B+